Q: Is it difficult to adapt a best-selling novel?
A: It is always a challenge to distill a work of fiction into screenplay form, but WORD OF HONOR was particularly difficult. DeMille's novel is a sprawling epic. So much of the story takes place in the past and in the mind of Ben Tyson, and a screenplay by necessity can't bring us the interior life. In the end, the solution was to dramatize the Vietnam flashbacks through Tyson's accuser; it is Dr. Brandt who takes us back in time to Vietnam. As for Tyson himself, the screenplay strives to make a virtue of necessity: we don't know why Tyson keeps silent about Misericorde. It is the mystery that compels Harper and, I hope, our audience, as well.
Q: How is the story relevant to our culture today?
A: President Carter said it best: "War is sometimes a necessary evil, but it is always an evil."
Q: Why does Ben Tyson stay firm to his "word of honor"?
A: Tyson is sui generis, a throwback to an ennobled past--a man who is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. We see very few Ben Tyson's on our national stage today.